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Translating Trauma: David Boder's 1946 Interviews with Holocaust Survivors

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Beate Muller


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David Boder's wire-recorded interviews with about 130 displaced persons conducted in 1946 in France, Italy, Germany, and Switzerland – his ‘Voices’ Project - is the earliest known oral history of Holocaust survivors. Their testimonies were recorded in nine languages, Boder translating as many of them as he could into English, thus turning the original audio files into written documents. The psychologist Boder claimed that the traumatic experiences suffered by his interviewees had patterned their language, something he tried to reflect in what he called ‘awkward’ translations. However, Boder's desire to identify and transmit trauma-induced linguistic behaviour led to misinterpretations and a failure to understand language choice, rather than language competence, as a sign of trauma.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Muller B

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Translation and Literature

Year: 2014

Volume: 23

Issue: 2

Pages: 257-271

Print publication date: 01/07/2014

Online publication date: 01/07/2014

ISSN (print): 09681361

ISSN (electronic): 17500214

Publisher: Edinburgh University Press


DOI: 10.3366/tal.2014.0155


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